Capital Campaign in Your Future?

 In Capital Campaigns, Foundations, Fundraising, Resources

Are you anticipating a capital campaign to help fund a new building or renovation of your library? Before launching a campaign, there are several steps you should be taking now to prepare your organization and improve your potential for a successful campaign.

Long before launching a capital campaign – and to strengthen your library’s future – lay a foundation for fundraising success by focusing on three key initiatives:

  1. Increase community-wide engagement
    1. Create a detailed marketing plan, including staff and budget, to promote library programs and events
    2. Make presentations to local civic and social groups
    3. Invite community members to dialogue about your community’s desired future and identify specific needs and gaps that the library can uniquely fulfill
    4. Identify partnerships across the community to leverage resources and increase impact
  1. Develop a history of fundraising
    1. Register your Friends or Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization
    2. Create a habit of giving to the library by conducting an annual appeal (see our article for tips and a sample annual appeal letter)
    3. Start developing and nurturing relationships with community leaders and potential major donors
    4. Identify “friend-raising” opportunities, activities that may not involve asking for money but are designed to engage community members in the library’s vision
  1. Recruit respected and visible community leaders to form a Foundation Board or Fundraising Committee; specifically, people with:
    1. Fundraising experience
    2. Corporate leadership
    3. Legal expertise
    4. Financial expertise
    5. Advertising/marketing/PR expertise or media connections
    6. Connections to philanthropic organizations
    7. Personal wealth

Focus on these three areas for at least two years (and longer if possible), and you will be much better prepared to begin the process of conducting a capital campaign:  1) you will increase the visibility and appreciation of the library; 2) you will build a donor base and create a culture of giving to the library; and 3) if you have carefully recruited and nurtured your Foundation Board or Fundraising Committee, you will have a committed group of community leaders who will work on your behalf to make the library’s vision a reality. Don’t wait for the capital campaign to start this work. Begin now!

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